L.A. Mayor Calls on TV Industry to Take Advantage of Expanded State Incentives

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L.A. mayor Eric Garcetti

The first opportunity for TV productions to submit applications opens on Monday.

Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti, who lobbied hard to expand California’s tax incentives for film and TV from $100 million annually to $330 million, on Friday urged TV production companies to apply for more than $50 million in credits available under the new program.

His active outreach is part of the “Greenlight Hollywood” program he introduced earlier this year to streamline the process and encourage participation by TV and movie productions, as well as commercials and digital programming.

“Here in L.A., the entertainment industry is more than glitz and glamour,” said Garcetti, “it’s a bedrock of our middle class, and so I urge production companies to take advantage of the expanded tax credit we fought so hard to pass.”

Garcetti pointed to a Milken Institute study that predicts the credits will support 50,000 middle class jobs.

The revised program has separate windows for TV and film proposals to be sent to the California Film Commission, which oversees the process of granting the incentive funds.

For TV, under the new program, the opportunity to submit begins on Monday and runs until May 17. There is $55.2 million available for new TV series, TV pilots, movies of the week and miniseries for distribution on broadcast, cable, streaming services or digital.

There is also $27.6 million in credits available for TV series that relocate from other states. Those that relocate also qualify for an extra 5 percent on top of the state’s 20 percent incentive.

For the first time in California history, under the new program network TV series are eligible for incentives. Under the old program only cable TV and productions from out of state were eligible.

The actual incentives will be issued after July 1, and productions may not begin before that date. The new program replaces a lottery with rules that grade applicants by the number of jobs each production is expected to create.

Applications for movies can be submitted from July 13 until July 25. There is $48.3 million in tax credits available for feature films [including big budget movies, which are eligible for the first time] and another $6.9 million for independent produced film projects.

The “Greenlight Hollywood” campaign is overseen by Ken Ziffren, the mayor’s senior advisor on entertainment industry issues. As part of the campaign, the mayor previously issued an executive directive to make City Hall more film-friendly and announced budget proposals to invest in city services that would encourage filming and entertainment job creation.

Garcetti also appointed Board of Public Works president Kevin James to serve as his director and chief liaison of the mayor's office of film and television production to make sure that city processes are streamlined.

"Now that the increased film tax credit is in place,” said Garcetti, “we are focusing on getting producers to utilize it and on cutting red tape to make sure L.A. is as film-friendly as possible.”

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